Oklahoma Man Receives Rare Triple Organ Transplant

Surgeons performing surgery

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Before being diagnosed with a rare congestive heart problem as a child, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, resident Doyle Duke dreamed of growing up to become a professional baseball player. But in 1984 while getting his sports physical, the doctor told Duke’s mom that not only could he not play sports, he shouldn't be doing anything active, even walking was off the table.

Duke had open heart surgery in 1995 and a pacemaker installed the next year. In the following years, he underwent more surgeries, but his health only got worse. “I had a good run there for a while, I was feeling pretty good and then, it started deteriorating,” Duke says, “Since 2012 it just got worse and worse and worse.” At an appointment last year, Duke joked with the doctor that maybe it was “time to get some parts replaced.” The doctor agreed.

Duke’s heart condition had caused his liver and kidneys to also fail, so at the end of last year, he underwent a rare triple-organ transplant at Mayo Clinic Arizona. The 14-hour procedure required more than 20 doctors, nurses, and medical staff, but it was a success. After months of recuperating, Duke finally got to go home recently. He hopes that his story will inspire people to become organ donors and he’ll forever be grateful to the person whose organs are now making his life possible, saying, “My donor is my hero, he is my above all hero.”

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